This holiday season, we planned to have a large gathering of friends, and the date we chose happened to fall on Festivus. To celebrate the occasion, I decided to make a cherpumple cake. What is a cherpumple cake? Some would say it is an elegant answer to the question, “cake or pie?”, while others would say it is That Which Should Not Be.
Charles Phoenix invented the cherpumple, which is a three layer cake with a pie baked in the center of each layer. According to the original recipe, a cherry pie is baked into a layer of white cake, a pumpkin pie is baked into a layer of spice cake, and an apple pie is baked into a yellow cake layer. For my cake, I chose chocolate cake for the cherry layer, because, well, I like chocolate.
This would probably be a good time to mention that I’ve spent more time playing Cooking Mama than actually cooking. I have made brownies from a mix before, and I thought, “How much harder could this be?” Then again, I thought the PSP Go was a good idea. After assembling the ingredients bought from the store for the project, adding ingredients already in the pantry such as eggs, butter and oil, and pulling out the mixer, my project completely took over my kitchen counter.
I was surprised by how long one layer of the cake took. My first layer was the chocolate/cherry, and at first everything seemed to be going well. I greased the pan, mixed the cake according to directions, and poured a layer of the mix into the pan. I carefully de-tinned the cherry pie and placed it on the layer of cake mix in the pan. Carefully, I poured the rest of the chocolate cake mix over and around the rest of the pie. I placed the pan in the preheated oven, and waited. And waited.
The directions on the chocolate cake said to bake for 30-35 minutes. After 45 minutes, the center was still soft. After 55 minutes, I thought surely the cake was done; the top was feeling firmer after all. I pulled the cake from the oven, let it cool for ten minutes, then took it out of the pan and put it on a cooking rack. I was nervous about this step, but other than a loud bang when I flipped the cake from pan to cookie sheet to cooling rack, it went well.
After cooling, my heart sunk to match the cake. The top of the cake had sunk an inch, and uncooked chocolate dough oozed through a crater that had formed. If this was a video game, I had just lost a life. I almost abandoned the project at this point. I decided to press on, and at least hope for a good two layer cake, although I would no longer have a true cherpumple. I later scooped out all the uncooked dough, added ice cream and served this layer as a separate dessert which I christened Cherry Chocolate Massacre.
The next layer was the yellow cake and apple pie layer. I was determined not to make the same mistake as the previous layer, so I made sure it was done cooking before I pulled the pan out. Unfortunately, after cooking the layer for over an hour, the top of my yellow cake was decidedly brown.
Fortunately, I was able to cut the burned part off very easily. Since the exposed cake was now without crust and kind of crumbly, I froze the layer and then frosted it so it would remain moist and not get stale.
The last layer went very well. Because of my previous experience, I placed aluminum foil over the cake after a half hour so that it would not burn. I was a little apprehensive about de-tinning the pumpkin pie, since I thought it would be floppier without a top crust. I placed it in the spice cake mix with no problems, however, and this layer came out perfectly.
Next I put the two layers together and frosted them with green dyed cream cheese frosting, and wrote Happy Festivus on top in red. I then made a small dimple in the center and filled it with Orange Extract. Enjoy this very short video of the presentation of my
cherpumple cake at our Festivus party.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the cake; I liked it. It was a longer undertaking than I thought it would be, but I’m glad I did it!